I try to exercise at least three days per week or more. I participate in various types of exercise to keep me engaged in my exercise routine, this includes walking, weights, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, or bike riding. I find if I start at the beginning of the week I will complete my weekly challenge.
I always feel that I will lose my stamina and interest if I do not maintain my exercise routine. The truth is, once you stop exercising your muscle strength, heart and lung volume, as well as your metabolism can decrease by 50% in three weeks (Rich, 2015). Rich (2015) goes on to say “use it or lose it” is a true statement. However, these changes in body functions depend on ones age, fitness level, length of the break, and the reason for the break in exercise.
Many of you have not been as active as you once were prior to the pandemic. It is spring and time to get active and get in shape. Although I was exercising at home, it did not seem quite enough or satisfying, so I started going to the park and most recently back to the gym.
I hope you are getting some exercise it is imperative we take care of ourselves, physically and mentally. Find an activity that you enjoy, so you can stay engaged and remain healthy and fit.
As we move into spring and summer after a year of social unrest and a pandemic, one has to ask how much more can you take? This is the second week in April of 2021 and so much to process.
There is a trial going on for the death of George Floyd, and now another young Black man Daunte Wright was also killed by police, a high school shooting occurred in Knoxville, Tennessee, a policemen died and a video was released of an army lieutenant being disrespected and sprayed with pepper spray because he did not comply. Thank God he was not killed!
The numerous shootings around the country is concerning. Also, we can not forgot about the terror against Asian Americans related to hate and misunderstanding. On another note, a policeman is lying in state at the Capitol this morning after being killed. These are just the highlights, there are more.
I am tearful and sad, everyday it is a new story. As a mother of two sons, I fear for my children and pray constantly for their safety and wellbeing. Many do not realize this hateful behavior has been going on for centuries. Video has finally substantiated what other communities has experienced since they have landed on these shores from various groups. Actually no one is native of this land but the American Indian and we see how they have been treated.
Mentally it is exhausting and I have had to unplug and stop watching television for my own mental health. I am confused about the continued disregard for black and brown lives in this country with no consequences. As a member of the minority community we can’t change the patterns of the majority, they will have to make the change. That will not happen until they decide that they are finally feed up. But, there is resistance within their group who are fearful that they are losing power and have nothing to add or say about the treatment of others.
Take care of yourself and your family. As we move into summer, and more events occur (and they will), reactions will get more intense and anger and hate will abound. Remember tomorrow is not promised but while you are here be a part of the solution not the problem, because we are all connected.
Mindfulness meditation originates from Buddhist teachings and is good for people who practice alone without a guide.
In mindfulness meditation, you pay attention to your thoughts as they pass through your mind. You don’t judge the thoughts or become involved with them. You simply observe and take note of any patterns. This practice combines concentration with awareness. You may find it helpful to focus on an object or your breath while you observe any bodily sensations, thoughts, or feelings.
Focused meditation involves concentration using any of the five senses. For example, you can focus on something internal, like your breath, or you can bring in external influences to help focus your attention. It maybe difficult for beginners.
Try counting mala beads, listening to a gong, or staring at a candle flame.
Although most people think of yoga when they hear movement meditation, this practice may include walking through the woods, gardening, qigong, and other gentle forms of motion. It’s an active form of meditation where the movement guides you.
Movement meditation is good for people who find peace in action and prefer to let their minds wander.
Mantra meditation is prominent in many teachings, including Hindu and Buddhist traditions. This type of meditation uses a repetitive sound to clear the mind. It can be a word, phrase, or sound, such as the popular “Om.”
It doesn’t matter if your mantra is spoken loudly or quietly. After chanting the mantra for some time, you’ll be more alert and in tune with your environment.
Transcendental Meditation is a popular type of meditation. This practice is for those who like structure. It is more customizable than mantra meditation, using a mantra or series of words that are specific to each practitioner.
Also known as body scan meditation, progressive relaxation is a practice aimed at reducing tension in the body and promoting relaxation. This form of meditation involves slowly tightening and relaxing one muscle group at a time throughout the body. A great way to relieve stress and unwind.
Loving-kindness meditation is used to strengthen feelings of compassion, kindness, and acceptance toward oneself and others. This meditation is intended to promote compassion and kindness, it may be ideal for those holding feelings of anger or resentment.
It typically involves opening the mind to receive love from others and then sending a series of well wishes to loved ones, friends, acquaintances, and all living beings.
Visualization meditation is a technique focused on enhancing feelings of relaxation, peace, and calmness by visualizing positive scenes or images. Imagining yourself succeeding at specific goals, which is intended to increase focus and motivation. With this practice, use all five senses to add as much detail as possible to your image.
Hopefully you can find a meditation practice that resonates with you. These practices are helpful in reducing stress, promoting inner peace and will boost your mood.
I have always found it difficult to meditate, but continue to try over the years. Apparently there are different types of meditation and it appears I have been mastered one type unknowingly. Who knew!
The benefits of mediation include reconnecting with your emotions, desires, and roadblocks that may be causing you stress (Thole, 2021). Thole, (2021) says meditation helps to center and ground you so you can slow down. Meditation, reduce stress, anxiety, enhances self-awareness, improves sleep, decreases blood pressure, generates kindness, helps controls pain, improves age related memory and helps fight addictions (Thole, E (2021) and Thorpe, M & Link, R. (2020).
Tholes, E. (April, 2021) Whats up with Meditation? Natural Awakenings.
I walk to reduce stress, and clear my mind. It is also a wonderful way to exercise while enjoying nature, especially during this time of limited personal interactions due to COVID 19. I still wear my mask, it keeps my face warm during chilly March days. On some occasions I run but find walking helps me to sort out issues of the day.
Walking is a great way to reduce stress and improve your endurance. This exercise can be enhanced by using weights, or add an occasional run or sprints to increase your intensity. This will improve your muscle strength and stamina. There are also apps available to measure steps and mileage or to assist with guided mediatation.
On some occasions I listen to music but for the most part I enjoy the sounds of nature or the stillness or the day. If you walk in your neighborhood you might be surprised what you notice and appreciate. What ever you choice to do, enjoy it. Walking is great exercise for both your mind and body.
Notice how refreshed you feel when have the intention of enjoying a walk and reflecting on the day.
Reference Jung, 2021. Walking can change your life. Prevention. com. 33
Stretching is so beneficial for the body. As we age we loose our flexibility if we do not actively stretch and remain mobile. When is the last time you sat on the floor, or stretched your arms over your head? Can you touch your toes? You would be surprised how stiff you have become.
The benefits of stretching include maintaining flexibility, strength and preventing injury. Stretching keeps the muscles strong and prevents them from shortening and becoming tight and weak. This will reduce potential injury and muscle strain.
Walking can warm the muscle, and is essential prior to stretching, especially if you are going to engage in vigorous exercise. Consultant your medical professional before starting a exercise regime, especially if you have not exercised lately.
Good luck, stretching and exercise are good for the body!
I love chocolate, ice cream and pastry but try to keep my intake to a minimal. Although experts have said fried food and bread can be the cause of weight gain, excess sugar is on the top of the list. The key is always moderation and exercise.
Too much sugar affects every body system, from head to toe. Consuming too much sugar gives your brain a huge surge of a feel-good chemical called dopamine, which explains why you’re more likely to crave a candy bar at 3 p.m. than an apple or a carrot” (Hughes, 2017). That is why we say its addictive.
Sugar can also cause tooth decay, and increase inflammation in the joints, and affect other internal organs. Although it enhances the taste of food, the chronic effects of too much sugar can be devastating on the body.
Please check out the link below to get the full details of the affects of too much sugar intake on the body. You maybe surprised.
March is Women’s History Month, and this month women are being praised for their contributions. This is the first time I can actually remember this month long celebration, and the emphasis placed on it by the media. The week was first celebrated in 1978, and has since expanded.
Lewis (2020) stated that on February 28, 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8th, 1980 as the first National Women’s History Week. President Carter’s proclamation read in part:
“From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this Nation. Too often, the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed” (Lewis, 2020).
That is an under statement, there are so many women who have contributed to our lives and society that have been over looked, due to sex and race. Black women did not receive the right to vote until 1965. Personally I want to show my appreciation to my own mother and first teacher Mary Odessa Turner. My mother was an educator and began her working career as most women in the 1950’s as an elementary school teacher.
Although my mother and I had a difficult relationship, I learned many things from her. She has passed on, but I can appreciate all the lessons she taught me, that include my love of education and the ability to take care of myself. These things were important to her, and she stressed it. Mary was also outspoken and would say things that gave you pause, thus I am my mothers child.
When we are young we do not always appreciate our parents, especially our mothers until we are older or have children of our own. This is when you know you are a full adult, because you may finally understand their concerns. My mother use to say “you made your bed now lay in it”. This refers to your choices and actions and it has always stuck with me.
The pandemic has affected all of our relationships, especially with older friends and family, and it has been stressful for many. As our country opens up after the pandemic, hopefully you will be more appreciative of all your elders especially the women in your circle who have much wisdom to share.
I got my second COVID-19 vaccine this week. As a result I experienced chills, fever, headache and pain at the injection site. Twenty-four hours later I felt fine. I still have pain at the injection site. These minor symptoms should not keep you from getting the vaccine. The virus could be much worse and the outcome could be deadly.
This was also the day my dear friend was laid to rest. She passed away in February from complications of COVID-19. I was notified the same day I received the first vaccine. I was already stressed that day and had trepidations about the long term affects of the vaccine. I was not sure I was doing the right thing. When I found out my friend passed away I was devastated, and cried all day.
In the meantime Texas and Mississippi are planning to lift state mandates and rescind the mask order. Many businesses, schools and healthcare facilities will continue to follow CDC guidelines, but they may have difficulty enforcing the order, since it is no longer a state enforced mandate. The grocery store chain H-E-B indicated that it would no longer require customers to wear masks. As a consumer, I am very disappointed, because it is one of my favorite places to shop.
State data has revealed that less than 7% of Texans have been fully vaccinated. The number of COVID-19 patients occupying hospital beds in Texas has declined steadily since late January. We pray there will not be another COVID-19 surge. Currently Texas is 36th in the country for the number of vaccinated individuals.
On another note the governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, refused help from the federal government to give coronavirus testing to migrants before they are released from federal custody. He said it’s a federal responsibility to screen immigrants coming into Texas. How does that help Texans?
Mississippi is having an issue with water in the city of Jackson. Many individual homes have been out of running water for several weeks. Talk about an infection control nightmare. The state is currently ranked number 46th for the amount individuals being vaccinated.
Can we leave politics out this and take care of people? Contrary to what others believe we are all connected. Although many have no idea what the poor and oppressed are experiencing related to health and wellness. Have some empathy. Do your part to keep your neighbor, and other relatives safe.
Please continue to wear a mask, wash your hands or use hand santizier if water is not available. We are all in this together.
I am compelled to write about this topic because the public has no idea what this means. I watch individuals practicing their idea of infection control with interest. They wipe down items and wear gloves all day long to protect themselves.
Lets examine the issue of wearing gloves all day long. Gloves are meant to be used once and thrown away. Gloves are an extension of your hands. What ever you touch you are contaminating the gloves as well. You are passing those same germs to your cell phone, the grocery cart, your car door and others. Once you take the gloves off wash or gel your hands. I shared this video before but it worth showing again.
Wiping down items to put them away with dirty hands is not an effective method of infection control. To pick up cleaned items with dirty hands is defeating the purpose. In fact you are contaminating what you just cleaned. Gloves should be donned (put on) prior to cleaning. Once the item is cleaned the gloves should be removed, and hands washed or disinfected with gel and another set of gloves should applied prior to picking up the clean items to put them away. If you do not have gloves, gel or wash your hands prior to and after you clean the items to ensure you are not contaminating the object. If you are handling food I strongly suggest you wash your hands with soap and water (prior to and after) and follow the same procedure.
Many people believe in prayer and a higher power, but still try to change circumstance that they have no control over. This may include going to the physician for an illness. Many try to handle the issue themselves before they seek professional help.
I was faced with a situation recently a friend needed me to take her to the emergency room for another issue. I dressed, ate breakfast and prayed that the Lord would keep me well, as I always do every morning. She was in a hurry to get to the hospital, so she called another friend. A few hours later she revealed she tested positive for COVID-19. I would have been unknowingly exposed to the virus for at least 60 minutes. I am in and out of hospitals frequently and do everything possible to keep myself well. I was so grateful that I was not exposed.
It was unfortunate that this issue occurred in the first place. I thanked the Lord, for changing the circumstances of that visit, it could have turned out badly for me. I was afraid for my friend because she had a pre-existing condition. I was hoping she could weather this double storm, with God’s help. I prayed she would recover. In retrospect she should of called an ambulance, because the workers are dressed for the exposure of any possible infection. Now another person has been exposed.
This story did not end well. My friend died as a result of COVID-19, within two weeks of the diagnosis. I was devastated. As a nurse we deal with the results of death frequently especially with others. It is especially hard when it is someone you personally know. At the beginning of this pandemic many people did not know anyone with the disease or any one who had died from COVID-19. They did not believe it was true. That definitely was not my issue, as I am work in a variety of hospital settings frequently.
Nurses are unique, as patient advocates, they provide and support patients 24/7 through their most vulnerable times, life, death and everything in between. As a result we have to be strong for others, and give them support through their tears and fears.
Who is there for the nurse and other professionals as they deal with the stress of providing care and assisting with those who are transitioning? Lately patient deaths have become a consistent event. We are not robots but the public expects us to be happy every time they walk through the door of the hospital or clinic. People forget we are human and have emotions as well.
Pray and dependence on each other within our profession is what gets us through the shift or the day. We appreciate the thanks but empathy and personal responsibility goes a long way when we are talking about personal health. These days many people do not want to take personal responsibility for anything, including health issues. They eat things that are contrary to their health and participate in risky behavior because it is their right. These same individuals look at the medical community to reverse the outcome.
Well, I am informing you that it is tiring. Without the dedicated members of the health profession some of you would be left to your own devices. After losing my dear friend I realized that as much as I advocate for others and their risky behavior, it has been confirmed once again that I have no control over what others do.
Please continue to wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands, someones life may depend on what you do.
With trepidation and anxiety I had the first injection of the Modera COVID-19 vaccine this week. I did not want to take the vaccine right now and wanted to wait for the next roll out. I even prayed about this and thought I would proceed slowly. My spirit was unsettled and stressed about the whole ordeal.
As I was driving to the facility to receive my injection, and praying for a good outcome, I received a call from a relative of a friend. My friend had been in the hospital for two weeks for complications of leukemia, and she also contracted COVID-19. Prior to her going to the hospital I had asked her if the people around her were wearing a mask, she replied sometimes. Her immune system was already compromised and she needed to be extremely careful.
I was so glad to hear from her because I had not heard from her for at least a week. In fact. I feared the worse, but when you actually hear bad news, it is like a bad dream. Her sister told me she died and I was overcome with grief. This is the first person I know personally that died due with COVID-19.
I know the family is probably devastated because they probably had no idea how serious it was to protect her immunity, regardless of the COVID-19 virus. She was high risk and I feel bad that I did not overemphasize the need for her to isolate. It is too late.
That tragedy was a reminder for me to continue to stay healthy and to encourage others to do the same, wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands. Remember it not a guarantee that you will not get COVID-19 once you take the vaccine, especially since the virus has mutated. My next vaccine is in one month. My arm was extremely sore, after the first vaccine. I did push-ups and had to go to a virtual weight class to relieve the pain in my left arm. Please stay well…